Covid-19 update: Sleepy Panchsheel Park even more quiet than it was before
The colony that came up in the 1960s, is spread across three blocks — North, East and South, which across either side of the Outer Ring Road.Updated: Mar 31, 2020 15:37 IST
Around a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 21-day nationwide lockdown, Akriti Sehgal (29), a resident of Panchsheel Park’s North Block had visited the nearest department store to stock up on essentials, only to find that several items were already sold out. Customers were hoarding groceries, she said.
“Personally, I do not feel much of a difference in the colony after the lockdown. However, because there are no grocery stores or markets inside the neighbourhood, and the nearest ones are at least a couple of kilometres away, acquiring everyday essentials has been our biggest worry,” said Sehgal who was born and grew up in the south Delhi neighbourhood. She lives in the area with her parents and brother.
Six days into the lockdown announced to control the spread of Covid-19, Panchsheel Park would appear just as quiet as it generally is. The colony that came up in the 1960s, is spread across three blocks — North, East and South, which across either side of the Outer Ring Road.
“Of the seven gates in South Block, only one has been kept open for entries and exits. In the North and East blocks, on the other hand, the place is designed in such a way that two gates have to be kept open,” said Himangshu Vaish, president of the cooperative society and designated Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) and Panchsheel Park.
“We have provided gloves, masks, and sanitisers to the guards and garbage collectors in the colony as well. As far as domestic helps are concerned, we have not made any restrictions and have left it to the individual residents to decide on their entry,” he added.
Community parks in the neighbourhood have also been locked to people gathering there, and access has been restricted to gardeners.
While Vaish said the RWA has handed out a list of telephone numbers that can be used to order essential items, residents complained that they were unable to procure groceries at all, during the first couple two days of the lockdown.
“Perhaps because people in the area hardly interact with each other, it is difficult to get information on how things are being managed,” Sehgal said. She added that while grocery has been an issue, vegetable vendors have been coming into the colony, saving them the trouble.
Praveen Sharma (56), also a resident of North Block, said that lack of access to essentials is resulting in people overstocking, and causing crowds in nearby markets.
“I still see people walking on the roads in groups of three or four in the evenings,” she said.
In this moment of crisis though, residents of the area have also coordinated among themselves to help out those in need. “We have a group of volunteers taking care of the needs of the elderly, and another group is feeding stray animals here,” Vaish said.
He also said the Panchsheel Club, a neighbour hood club that has now been shut for residents, has been providing meals to be distributed among the underprivileged across the city. The club, run by the RWAs, has tied up with a few NGOs, and also hands out food to the police as well as civil service volunteers.